I’m starting this blog for three unrelated and completely selfish reasons; the first is to give me place to attempt to cohere my thoughts on the relationship between Mormon theology and Liberal philosophy. I’ve found that putting things into writing allows me to fully form and flesh out my ideas and beliefs and gives me a chance to see their weakness and flaws. The second is to show off my reasoning and open my thought to comments by anyone who stumbles across my postings. And the third is to stick it to all the ignoramuses and bigots who insist on confusing liberalism with the church of Satan.
I have no idea how often I’ll write. I fully expect my views and thoughts to change and mature as I do. I have no desire to be consistent, only coherent. Although I try to be accurate and fair, I am here giving fair warning that I make no claim to be unbiased. I find much of conservative thought rife with bigotry, racism, jingoism and other forms of intolerance, and I plan to attack those evils any way I can (without violating my commitment to honesty.) I also love to use hyperbole, because it helps to highlight contrasts that otherwise might be missed.
One of the struggles in any form of communication is attempting to get the ideas that are in one’s own head into the mind of another. As groups separate and become isolated from each other variations form in their languages, making communication difficult. The self-imposed isolation of Mormon culture has let Mormons drift away from contemporary society in the language and constructs typically used in examining questions of ethics and morality. The question in writing a blog such as this is do I use the Mormon language, or common American English? For ease of reading I will use American English, and then work to provide translations into Mormon when necessary for greater clarity. Occasionally the differences may become the subjects of essays in themselves (for example, sometime I would love to write an essay called “Pride is Not a Swear Word”, on the meaning of pride and the particularly silly way members of the church have misinterpreted Pres. Benson’s masterful sermon on the subject.) By the Mormon language I mean not only Mormon jargon, but particular mental constructs such as the idea of stewardship. Care must also be taken, because there are those whose language bears a superficial, syntactical resemblance to Church language. These wolves in sheep’s clothing have managed to fool many church members into thinking as they do. We should not be fooled into the belief that just because someone uses words with which we are familiar that they share our ideals. Nor should we fall for the erroneous idea that because the words that are used to express a thought are different from our words that the underlying ideas are incompatible with our own.
Liberalism is a broad set of philosophies, ideas, and life approach. It informs our values, and the moral frame through which we view the world, our place in it and the place of others. The purpose of this blog will be to explore these ideas and their relationship to Mormon theology.
(and yes, for all of you who read this, I am planning on addressing every religious conservative’s favorite topics: abortion and gay rights)